Sunday, March 02, 2014

The Shift..

So. I can't remember if I have created a post titled this before or not.. but oh well :P

2014 marks a what is looking to be a very very amazing year for me. I am beyond excited, and grateful for so many of the possibilities that wait for me this season!

First off, I've been gone from the ranch for myself. I'm just going to refer to this time off as "Me Time" lol I stayed at my parents house while they went to Mexico for 3 weeks. Even though there was many MANY times where I felt the sticky grasp of boredom slowly enveloping me, I had many adventures, and many moments of thought, self reflection and meditation.

I believe my shift has come about initially by reading the book: Wishes Fulfilled: The Art of Manifesting By Dr. Wayne Dyer. This book was given to me by friend solely because she felt I should read it before her, and I'm glad she followed her heart when it told her to give me this book to read first.
Also shortly after finishing this book, which was amazing in every way and has changed the way I look at life, I acquired another one of Wayne Dyer's books: Excuses Begone! I am currently near the end of this book, but not yet finished. Both of these books have helped me realize how much I was standing in my own way of achieving my dreams, and living life! I definitely recommend reading either of these books, life changers for sure.
I am so very excited to go back to the Ranch now and start working horses and conditioning my Tori horse for Endurance! I am exciting for working hard to be able to buy my Rick horse and start training him as well, and I am equally excited to start bringing in a few of my own client horses to train!! Like I said, there are so many awesome possibilities that await me this Spring/Summer!

I hope to be posting more of my adventures and exciting moments, as well as many photos :)

Saturday, January 18, 2014

2014 marks 2 years!

This is a video showing Tori and I's journey together from when I bought her as a 2yr old in March 2012, until November 2013. I love this video as it shows our truth. It shows not only the progress of my girl, but the progress of my own learning and understanding of Horsemanship. Ans there is still a lifetime worth of learning left and more!! Keep showing me where my mistakes are, Tori horse!!

Thursday, January 16, 2014


I know I have been lacking lately in the post department..

Things have been stressful lately! Just so much going on and I feel like I have been struggling a lot with every single horse that I work. At times it got to the point where I was avoiding working with horses at all, including Tori. My confidence has taken quite the blow since fall and I'm not exactly sure why or what from, but it has.
I feel the need to have Russ around more often to help me, without him I sometimes feel lost, when something isn't working and I'm trying to play and find a way to help the horse understand and it just isn't working, I can get extremely frustrated because I don't understand what I am doing to cause this problem.. Because I know it is always something I am doing.

The other night was good. We have a big black here who is an older horse, 9 I believe, and is here to be started. He is a very gentle natured horse but his past has caused him to be extremely untrusting. His progress has been slow, and I know my worries have effected him greatly. I've started riding him but I know I am so tense that I am not doing him any favours. Russ worked with me last night and I felt like I was able to start relaxing little by little and by the end of the session I felt good about the work we did. A little boost for confidence!

Tomorrow I am leaving the ranch, and will be back in March. I'm hoping to use my return as a fresh start and really try to unlock the hold that this nervousness and second-guessing has on me. I have people contacting me to train their horses. What an amazing opportunity! I need to set aside my worries and forces on the horse and what he needs. Easier said than done, but I will not give up, no matter how discouraged I get, I will not give up.

This quote has helped me lately:

"In the midst of movement and chaos, keep stillness inside of you." ~ Deepak Chopra

Thursday, December 12, 2013

The Story of My Day Through Photos

This day started with Nugget being creepy.

And disrupting my work...


And being creepy… lol I did not force him into this position in any way :P

And startling me as well as still being creepy… WHEN DID YOU GET IN THERE?!

Then in the afternoon on this most wonderful day I took Nugget *The horse* out on his first trail ride!

He was nervous in the new environment and the fact of being alone.. But a very honest horse which made it easier to get in his head and direct and focus his energy

Reminds me of my Rick horse and I love that about him!

I love his eyes too  Another thing that reminds me of Rick!

We need to improve on some ground work skills.. Was pushing out on the rein through the gate .. which equals face in tree full of snow lol! life lessons 

Was so relaxed after we got back!! The trail was stressful but contained much learning and now to revel in the accomplishment and end on a relaxed and positive note!

Many satisfied snorts...

Lets just lie here and contemplate life :P

Wow.. Nugget.. you're almost a different colour!

"Brush me now "

Brushed clean and coolered up and chillin. He was pawing being tied up, and was anxious, so I unclipped him, but the rules were he hand to stand with me, I would be very annoying to him until he decided life was much more peaceful with me :P

I have a new most wonderful horse in my life named Nugget!! He had gotten 20days put on him almost a year ago by Russ then got hurt in the field and wasn't worked until they brought him back here maybe a week ago. I put two rides on him in the arena and today took him out on the trails and it was awesome! I feel like Its soo much easier for me to get into a horses head on the trail, I have such a better feel and I feel like I really become their guide, keep them comfortable and learning to communicate - Nugget is a very nervous flighty horse and he was very tense most the ride, but I could feel his intentions and I feel like I was able to keep him from ever getting in  trouble, and when we got back he was so mellow and relaxed it was beautiful!

Taylor put on a Versatility competition for Russ's Birthday, Complete with "Wacky conformation"!! Tori wasn't really impressed with her new fashion!


The competition was so fantastic, Tori and I have some new things to work on now lol!

What an awesome day!

Thursday, December 05, 2013

The Legacy of Legends

In November I was able to go to the Buck Brannaman clinic down in High River. What an adventure that was!! Buck was somebody who sparked my passion for horsemanship, and his story resonates so very closely to my own, even though we are completely different. I decided that I would talk to Buck after the clinic and at least ask if he would sign my book, "Believe".
Not only did he sign my book, but we talked every evening after his clinic. I always waited until most everyone was gone before I stepped up, and usually it was just me and him chatting in the arena. He told me about the Legacy of Legends, and suggested that I apply for the scholarship.

This scholarship, if I were to be selected as one of the recipients, would allow me the opportunity to go study under a horseman who emulates the philosophy of Tom Dorrance and Ray Hunt. Buck is a member of the organization and also takes on recipients, so if I do get accepted, there is a chance that I could go study under Buck Brannaman himself! Now that would be quite an amazing opportunity!

I recently mailed in my application, I was required to write an essay, and include a video of me riding, as well as 3 reference letters. Recipients of 2014 will be announced in January, so fingers crossed!! I'm putting the thought out there that this summer Tori and I will travel with Buck to many different places as he teaches his clinics. Can you imagine the amount of knowledge that would be available to me?! I am waiting as patiently as I can until I hear back from them!


Just this past Sunday I was able to get the chance to ride with Bruce Campbell, Peter Campbell's brother. I loaded Tori into the trailer and hopped into the Truck (which Russ and Sandy let me borrow - I am beyond grateful!) And I hit the road to Olds. I have never driven such a big rig before and it was quite the adventure! Loved every minute of it! I got to Bruce's place and we spend an hour and a half talking and doing little exercises to help me feel Tori's feet. This is an area that I realized I really struggle with, and since Buck's clinic, realized exactly how important it is to know where your horses feet are and be in time with them. The horses feet are the single most important thing to outstanding horsemanship, and I was so lucky to have Bruce help me with that. We worked on little things the whole time, never (intentionally) breaking faster than a walk. It was an excellent experience and I left with little tools to help me grow my feel of the feet. :)

Now that I'm back in Eckville.. Alberta has decided to remind everyone how she likes to pretend we live far up north.. when in fact.. we do not. Looks like I am confined to the indoor arena… sigh. Even I'm not brave enough to ride the trails in -30!!

Friday, November 15, 2013

So Much Learning!

It's been a little while since I posted, thought I would update about a horse that I've started working, I call him Sketch :)

He's a big boy, but he's only 2 years old, and he's here to be started. I worked with him for two days, in those two days got him to the point where he was comfortable with me sitting on him, I could flex his head left and right and we backed up a few steps. I was very proud of what we accomplished in those first two days, and I was excited that this nervous horse tried so hard to trust me.
Day 3!
Russ was helping me this day, so he was watching while I worked mr. sketch. I let my energy change because of this. I focused on showing Russ how far we had come instead of focusing on the horse I was working and how he was feeling. That was my first mistake. There were subtle signs he was showing me, telling me he wasn't ready to be pushed so fast today, but I was blind to them.
I saddled him up, and was lunging him around me on the lead and all was well, then I tried to ask him to move his shoulders away from me, sort of a turn on the haunches while I was still on the ground. His shoulders were braced and he wouldn't move, then BOOM he just blew up and took off bucking. This was the first time in 3 days that he ever bucked. I was trying to get him to move forward out of his bucking and go back to our circle, but he just planted himself all 4 feet glued to the ground, so I ended up tapping his butt with the lead, but still nothing. That's when Russ took over.
I realize now, that I was asking for forward from the wrong end, his shoulders were still the part that was stuck, and I needed to unlock them to get him to move forward, and not push from the hindquarters. Sadly this mistake of mine put a major setback in his level of trust. He had no idea what I was asking of him, and as a result his mind became shattered and pure panic. Now, we couldn't even touch him.
We turned him loose in the arena and Russ guided me on what to do. I stood in the middle and applied the slightest of pressures and releases (only by taking a step forward or back), and worked to get him to want to join me in the centre. This is not like round penning. I wasn't chasing him anywhere, just standing in the middle waiting. He would just stand at the other end of the arena, and every so often, despite the silence and lack of movement, would blow up and go bucking around the arena again. For a hour or so I stood in the middle, and I got to the point where he looked at me with both eyes, then I walked away and we had lunch. We left him in the arena to think. When we came back, Russ used his rope, and swung it over his head to create more pressure, in a matter of a half hour Mr. Sketch joined Russ in the middle and followed him around, we were finally able to unsaddle him and turn him out.

Today, it was back to square one, I needed to show him he can trust me. So I spent almost two hours just working him at the end of the lead line, and doing some trust exercises, like walking over a bridge. In the end, we walked over the bridge, and we ended in a place where he had some trust in me. Now to start rebuilding.

Anyways, things with my Tori horse are quite wonderful at the moment, so many trail rides that are not just sit there and do nothing rides, most of the training we do happens on the trail, I barely ever ride her in the arena. My opinion, just because we are on the trail does not mean you don't have to be soft and responsive to me. I let her walk on a loose rein often, but if I pick up on the reins she should still collect softly. She should always listen to my legs and seat for direction and speed, regardless of how loose my reins are.
She doesn't always remember this so I find we do a lot of schooling on the trail. When I say schooling I mean, two tracking and picking up whatever lead I ask in the lope, when we turn around to go down a different trail the turn should be correct, and my favourite, narrow tree filled trails where we practice bend and flexion around the trees. None of this bash my knees into solid wood bull shit :P

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Change of seasons!

My girlfriend Riley and I went up to Jasper this last weekend for the Dark Sky Festival. We both love the stars and the mountains and it was a wonderful weekend getaway filled with a clear sky, camp fires and a little dodge dakota, and ended with the first snow of the year!

I drove back to Eckville admiring how quickly the land had changed from fall to winter... just the other day on the warmest of fall days, and now the frost gripped everything with a cold passion and a faint sparkle. I longed to take Tori out on the trail and feel the change of energy!

Russ has left on a Hunting trip, and I was in charge of exercing MJ, his show horse. Loping circles and more circles and more circles. This wasn't a horse I was to be training, only exercising. I felt like I was getting the taste of what a "loper" does at training/show barns. My horse was fully capable of loping continuously for an extended perioud of time, he was in top shape. I however, was not haha.
Also, I had two untouched 2 & 3 year old to start while he is away. The 2 yr old has my full attention.. I already love this big man :)

We started our session by doing circles in the paddock... the little turd would not let me near him! He would flinch at my feet cracking the snow and ice, and snort and blow, just a bundle of nerves. It took me a half hour to convince him to let me touch him, but once I did, I was easily able to halter and lead him to the arena.
From there we worked on leading around me on the end of the shank, he picked it up straight away and was soft, kept to the circle, and kept his rate up :) I did some more ground trust exercises and then proceeded to grab my blanket and saddle. I swung the blanket up, and down and up, and then the saddle. He flinched a lot but you could tell he knew what I was asking and was really trying for me even though everything in his body screamed run.
I cinched him up and lead him around me again and he braced a bit but never a buck or even crow hop. We walked, we jogged, nothing, he just started relaxing into it. So, we grabbed a bridle. He was pretty stiff with the bit, and took a lot to get him giving to the pressure. But he still picked it up a little. We flexed left, and right, and even backed up a few steps with me on the ground. So back to the leading around.
Next, foot in a stirrup.. step up, pet, step down.. Sold as a rock.
Swung that leg all the way over, picked up the reins, flexed left, flexed right, and even backed up!

By now he had worked up quite the sweat, I could tell he was getting real tired mentally too. So we ended there. But I'm so proud of this big man!! And surprised myself at how far I could push an untouched horse in one day :)

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Working Tori

The other day I made a video of Tori and I working on some flying changes in the arena. I didn't edit the video (Other than shortening it) So is has all the good and all the bad haha. After the video ends, we proceed to fix our stop button.. because apparently she decided that practicing flying changes meant she could forget how to stop :P